www.wvgazettemail.com U.S. and World http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2016, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Pioneering astronaut John Glenn dead at 95 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161208/GZ0113/161209577 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161208/GZ0113/161209577 Thu, 8 Dec 2016 15:59:58 -0500 By The Associated Press By By The Associated Press WASHINGTON - John Glenn, whose 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, died Thursday. The last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts was 95.

Glenn died at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he'd been for more than a week, said Hank Wilson, communications director for the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

John Herschel Glenn Jr. had two major career paths that often intersected: flying and politics, and he soared in both of them.

Before he gained fame orbiting the world, he was a fighter pilot in two wars and, as a test pilot, he set a transcontinental speed record.

He later served 24 years in the Senate from Ohio. A rare setback was a failed 1984 run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

His long political career enabled him to return to space in the shuttle Discovery at age 77 in 1998, a cosmic victory lap that he relished and turned into a teachable moment about growing old. He holds the record for the oldest person in space.

More than anything, Glenn was the ultimate and uniquely American space hero: a combat veteran with an easy smile, a strong marriage of 70 years and nerves of steel. Schools, a space center and the Columbus airport were named after him. So were children.

The Soviet Union leaped ahead in space exploration by putting the Sputnik 1 satellite into orbit in 1957, and then launched the first man in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, in a 108-minute orbital flight on April 12, 1961. After two suborbital flights by Alan Shepard Jr. and Gus Grissom, it was up to Glenn to be the first American to orbit the Earth.

"Godspeed, John Glenn," fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter radioed just before Glenn thundered off a Cape Canaveral launch pad, now a National Historic Landmark, to a place America had never been. At the time of that Feb. 20, 1962, flight, Glenn was 40 years old.

With the all-business phrase, "Roger, the clock is operating; we're underway," Glenn radioed to Earth as he started his 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds in space. Years later, he explained he said that because he didn't feel like he had lifted off and it was the only way he knew he had launched.

During the flight, Glenn uttered a phrase that he would repeat frequently throughout life: "Zero G, and I feel fine."

"It still seems so vivid to me," Glenn said in a 2012 interview with The Associated Press on the 50th anniversary of the flight. "I still can sort of pseudo feel some of those same sensations I had back in those days during launch and all."

Glenn said he often was asked if he was afraid, and he replied, "If you are talking about fear that overcomes what you are supposed to do, no. You've trained very hard for those flights."

Glenn's ride in the cramped Friendship 7 spacecraft had its scary moments, though. Sensors showed that his heat shield was loose after three orbits, and Mission Control worried that he might burn up during re-entry, when temperatures reached 3,000 degrees. But the heat shield held.

Even before then, Glenn flew in dangerous skies. He was a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea who flew low, got his plane riddled with bullets, flew with baseball great Ted Williams and earned macho nicknames during 149 combat missions. And as a test pilot, he broke aviation records.

The green-eyed, telegenic U.S. Marine even won $25,000 on the game show "Name That Tune" with a 10-year-old partner. And that was before April 6, 1959, when his life changed by being selected as one of the Mercury 7 astronauts and instantly started attracting more than his share of the spotlight.

Glenn, in later years, regaled crowds with stories of NASA's testing of would-be astronauts, from psychological tests - one with 20 answers to the open-ended question "I am" - to surviving spinning that pushed 16 times normal gravity against his body, popping blood vessels.

But it wasn't nearly as bad as going to Cape Canaveral to see the first unmanned rocket test.

"We're watching this thing go up and up and up ... and, all at once, it blew up right over us, and that was our introduction to the Atlas [rocket]," Glenn said in 2011. "We looked at each other and wanted to have a meeting with the engineers in the morning."

In 1959, Glenn wrote in Life magazine: "Space travel is at the frontier of my profession. It is going to be accomplished, and I want to be in on it. There is also an element of simple duty involved. I am convinced that I have something to give this project."

That sense of duty was instilled at an early age. Glenn was born July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio, and grew up in New Concord, Ohio, with the nickname "Bud." He joined the town band as a trumpeter at age 10 and accompanied his father one Memorial Day in an echoing version of taps. In his 1999 memoir, Glenn wrote "that feeling sums up my childhood. It formed my beliefs and my sense of responsibility. Everything that came after that just came naturally."

His love of flight was lifelong; John Glenn Sr. spoke of the many summer evenings he'd arrive home to find his son running around the yard with outstretched arms, pretending he was piloting a plane.

Last June, at a ceremony renaming the Columbus airport for him, Glenn recalled imploring his parents to take him to that airport to look at planes whenever they passed through the city: "It was something I was fascinated with."

He piloted his own private plane until age 90.

Glenn's goal of becoming a commercial pilot was changed by World War II. He left Muskingum College to join the Naval Air Corps and, soon after, the Marines.

He became a successful fighter pilot who flew 59 hazardous missions, often as a volunteer or as the requested backup of assigned pilots.

A war later, in Korea, he earned the nicknames "MiG-Mad Marine" and "Old Magnet Ass" (which he sometimes paraphrased as "Old Magnet Tail"), for his uncanny ability to keep his airplane under him even though it was riddled by enemy fire.

"I was the one who went in low and got them," Glenn said, explaining that he often landed with huge holes in the side of his aircraft because he didn't like to shoot from high altitudes.

Glenn's public life began when he broke the transcontinental airspeed record, bursting from Los Angeles to New York City in three hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds. With his F-8 Crusader averaging 725 mph, the 1957 flight proved that the jet could endure stress when pushed to maximum speeds over long distances.

In New York, he got a hero's welcome - his first tickertape parade. He got another after his spaceflight in Friendship 7.

That mission also introduced Glenn to politics. He addressed a joint session of Congress, and dined at the White House. He became friends with President John F. Kennedy and an ally and friend of his brother, Robert. The Kennedys urged him to enter politics and, after a difficult few starts, he did.

Glenn spent 24 years in the U.S. Senate, representing Ohio longer than any other senator in the state's history. He announced his impending retirement in 1997, 35 years to the day after he became the first American in orbit, saying "there is still no cure for the common birthday."

Glenn returned to space in a long-anticipated second flight in 1998 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. He got to move around aboard the shuttle for far longer - nine days, compared with just under five hours in 1962 - as well as sleep and experiment with bubbles in weightlessness.

In a news conference from space, Glenn said "to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible."

NASA tailored a series of geriatric-reaction experiments to create a scientific purpose for Glenn's mission, but there was more to it than that: a revival of the excitement of the earliest days of the space race against the Soviets, a public relations bonanza and the gift of a lifetime.

"America owed John Glenn a second flight," NASA Administrator Dan Goldin said.

Glenn would later write that, when he mentioned the idea of going back into space to his wife, Annie, she responded: "Over my dead body."

Glenn and his crewmates flew 3.6 million miles, compared to his 75,000 miles aboard Friendship 7.

Shortly before he ran for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination, a new generation was introduced to astronaut Glenn with the film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's book, "The Right Stuff." He was portrayed as the ultimate straight arrow amid a group of hard-partying astronauts.

Glenn said in 2011: "I don't think any of us cared for the movie 'The Right Stuff'; I know I didn't."

Glenn was unable to capitalize on the publicity, though, and his poorly organized campaign was short-lived. He dropped out of the race with his campaign $2.5 million in the red - a debt that lingered even after he retired from the Senate in 1999.

He later joked that, except for going into debt, humiliating his family and gaining 16 pounds, running for president was a good experience.

Glenn generally steered clear of campaigns after that, saying he didn't want to mix politics with his second spaceflight. He sat out the Senate race to succeed him - he was hundreds of miles above Earth on Election Day - and largely was quiet in the 2000 presidential race.

He'd first run for the Senate in 1964, but he left the race when he suffered a concussion after slipping in the bathroom and hitting his head on the tub.

He tried again in 1970, but he was defeated in the primary by Howard Metzenbaum, who later lost the general election to Robert Taft Jr. It was the start of a complex relationship with Metzenbaum, whom he later joined in the Senate.

For the next four years, Glenn devoted his attention to business and investments that made him a multimillionaire. He had joined the board of Royal Crown Cola after the aborted 1964 campaign, and was president of Royal Crown International from 1967 to 1969. In the early 1970s, he remained with Royal Crown and invested in a chain of Holiday Inns.

In 1974, Glenn ran against Metzenbaum in what turned into a bitter primary and won the election. He eventually made peace with Metzenbaum, who won election to the Senate in 1976.

Glenn set a record in 1980 by winning re-election with a 1.6-million vote margin.

He became an expert on nuclear weaponry and was the Senate's most dogged advocate of nonproliferation. He was the leading supporter of the B-1 Lancer supersonic bomber when many in Congress doubted the need for it. As chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, he turned a microscope on waste and fraud in the federal bureaucracy.

Glenn said the lowest point of his life was 1990, when he and four other senators came under scrutiny for their connections to Charles Keating, the notorious financier who eventually served prison time for his role in the costly savings and loan failure of the 1980s. The Senate Ethics Committee cleared Glenn of serious wrongdoing but said he "exercised poor judgment."

The episode was the only brush with scandal in his long public career and didn't diminish his popularity in Ohio.

Glenn joked that the only astronaut he was envious of was his fellow Ohioan: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

"I've been very fortunate to have a lot of great experiences in my life, and I'm thankful for them," he said in 2012.

In 1943, Glenn married his childhood sweetheart, Anna Margaret Castor. They met when they were toddlers, and when she had mumps as a teenager, he came to her house, cut a hole in her bedroom window screen, and passed her a radio to keep her company, a friend recounted.

"I don't remember the first time I told Annie I loved her, or the first time she told me," Glenn would write in his memoir. "It was just something we both knew."

He bought her a diamond engagement ring in 1942 for $125. It's never been replaced.

They had two children, Carolyn and John David.

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Trump chooses former WWE exec Linda McMahon for small business http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209613 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209613 Wed, 7 Dec 2016 18:24:56 -0500 By Susan Haigh and Julie Bykowicz The Associated Press By By Susan Haigh and Julie Bykowicz The Associated Press WASHINGTON - President-elect Donald Trump is adding former wrestling executive Linda McMahon to his Cabinet as leader of the Small Business Administration.

McMahon and her husband, Vince, founded and built World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., now a publicly traded sports entertainment company. She stepped down as the company's chief executive in 2009 and earlier this year launched a joint venture, Women's Leadership LIVE, which promotes opportunities for women in business and public service.

She also poured $100 million of her fortune into two unsuccessful bids for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut in 2010 and 2012 and has become an influential Republican donor - including to the Trump campaign.

"Linda is going to be a phenomenal leader and champion for small businesses and unleash America's entrepreneurial spirit all across the country," Trump said in a statement Wednesday.

Trump said McMahon shares his vision of decreasing "burdensome regulations that are hurting our middle-class workers and small businesses."

"As an entrepreneur myself, I have shared the experiences of our nation's small business owners and will do my best to advocate on their behalf," McMahon, 68, said in a statement. "My husband and I built our business from scratch, building it to a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees."

The SBA, best known for the small business loans it makes and the disaster aid it provides to companies and entrepreneurs, is also tasked with monitoring government officials' compliances with contract laws. Its budget is generally under $1 billion.

McMahon's two Democratic Senate opponents had kind words for their former foe.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal called her "a person of serious accomplishment and ability" who can help small businesses as long as "she is not hamstrung by the dangerous economic policies espoused by other Trump-nominated Cabinet officials." Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Murphy called McMahon a "talented and experienced businessperson" who helped shepherd WWE from an idea into a successful business.

"Of course, I know firsthand what a fierce fighter Linda McMahon is, and though we haven't always seen eye to eye, I have confidence she'll bring that fight to the SBA on behalf of Connecticut small businesses," he said.

Some national small business advocates said they had little experience with McMahon but hoped she would understand the needs of small companies. Connecticut members of the National Federation of Independent Business had supported McMahon when she ran for Senate, NFIB spokesman Jack Mozloom said.

"Her views with small business aligned very well with our views. If that indicates what kind of SBA administrator she'll be, that'll be good," Mozloom said.

The Small Business Majority said it would have liked a nominee with more direct small business experience, but was optimistic McMahon would support companies and their owners.

"We hope that she recognizes the unique role that the SBA plays in providing much-needed capital and support to America's small businesses and that she is prepared to play a strong role advocating or small business needs throughout the government," said John Arensmeyer, the group's CEO.

The contract laws that the SBA monitors compliance with are aimed at ensuring small businesses get at least 23 percent of federal contracting money that is considered eligible for small businesses. The SBA also sponsors small business training and assistance at hundreds of centers across the country. And its Office of Advocacy's responsibilities include challenging government regulations that pose a burden for small businesses.

House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, called McMahon an excellent choice.

"I look forward to working with her and the new administration to roll back burdensome regulations and increase access to capital for America's 28 million small businesses," he said.

Trump wasn't McMahon's top choice for president. She first backed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But McMahon has known Trump for three decades, and contributed $5 million to Trump's family charity, almost all of it in 2007. He participated in WWE events, including a 2007 "Battle of the Billionaires," during which he shaved Vince McMahon's head.

After Trump secured the Republican nomination, McMahon became one of his most generous benefactors. Fundraising records show she gave $6 million to an outside group that aired supportive commercials and attack ads against Democrat Hillary Clinton. She also gave more than $150,000 to the Trump campaign and his Republican Party partners at the end of September.

McMahon told The Associated Press in September that she was confident Trump would be a good president and said the two were on good terms.

"Once you're his friend, he is loyal to the end," she said. "He's an incredibly loyal, loyal friend."

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Trump expected to nominate Oklahoma AG Pruitt to head EPA http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209623 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209623 Wed, 7 Dec 2016 16:52:26 -0500 By Michael Biesecker and Sean Murphy The Associated Press By By Michael Biesecker and Sean Murphy The Associated Press WASHINGTON - President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a source close to Pruitt said Wednesday.

Pruitt, a 48-year-old Republican, has been a reliable booster of the fossil fuel industry and an outspoken critic of what he derides as the EPA's "activist agenda."

The person close to Pruitt who provided the information was unauthorized to speak publicly about Trump's pick and did so on condition of anonymity.

Environmental groups quickly denounced the choice on Wednesday, while representatives of the nation's mining and oil interests cheered Trump's selection.

"Scott Pruitt is a businessman and public servant and understands the impact regulation and legislation have in the business world," said Jeffrey McDougall, an oilman who serves as chairman of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. "His appointment will put rational and reasonable regulation at the forefront."

Though his academic degrees are in political science and law, Pruitt has been a vocal public denier of the science showing that the Earth is warming and that man-made carbon emissions are to blame.

In an opinion article published earlier this year by National Review, Pruitt suggested that the debate over global warming "is far from settled" and claimed "scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind."

According to NASA, 97 percent of the world's climate scientists agree that the planet is getting hotter and that burning fossil fuels is the primary cause. Ten of the warmest years in history have occurred in the past 12, with 2016 on pace to be the hottest recorded. Studies show the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass, while the world's oceans have risen on average nearly 7 inches in the last century.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is poised to serve as the Democratic leader in the next Congress, said his party plans to press Pruitt with "tough questions" in his confirmation hearing.

"Attorney General Pruitt's reluctance to accept the facts or science on climate change couldn't make him any more out of touch with the American people - and with reality," Schumer said. "President-elect Trump promised to break the special interests' grip on Washington, but his nomination of Mr. Pruitt - who has a troubling history of advocating on behalf of big oil at the expense of public health - only tightens it."

Sen. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who shares Pruitt's skepticism of climate science, praised Pruitt's record of fighting back "against unconstitutional and overzealous environmental regulations."

Representing his state as attorney general since 2011, Pruitt has repeatedly sued the EPA to roll back environmental regulations and public health protections.

He joined with other Republican attorneys general in opposing the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to limit planet-warming carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Pruitt has argued that curbing carbon emissions would trample the sovereignty of state governments, drive up electricity rates, threaten the reliability of the nation's power grid and "create economic havoc."

He also filed court briefs in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, blocked by the Obama administration, which runs through his state. Pruitt also sued the EPA over the agency's recent expansion of water bodies regulated under the federal Clean Water Act, which has been opposed by industries that would be forced to clean up contaminated wastewater.

"Respect for private property rights have allowed our nation to thrive, but with the recently finalized rule, farmers, ranchers, developers, industry and individual property owners will now be subject to the unpredictable, unsound and often byzantine regulatory regime of the EPA," Pruitt said last year.

Though Pruitt ran unopposed for a second term in 2014, campaign finance reports show he raised more than $700,000, with many of his top donors hailing from the energy and utility industries. Among those who gave the maximum contribution of $5,000 to Pruitt's campaign was Continental Resources Chairman and CEO Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma oil tycoon who has been advising Trump.

Environmental groups condemned Trump's choice.

"Scott Pruitt has built his political career by trying to undermine EPA's mission of environmental protection," said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. "He is a deeply troubling choice to head the agency that protects the clean air all Americans breathe and the clean water we drink."

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Is demand for travel to Cuba flattening after Donald Trump's win? http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209631 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209631 Wed, 7 Dec 2016 16:12:00 -0500 By Beth J. Harpaz The Associated Press By By Beth J. Harpaz The Associated Press Demand for travel to Cuba may be flattening, with soaring hotel prices on the island, American Airlines cutting some flights, and uncertainty over whether new travel restrictions could be imposed when Donald Trump takes office.

Gregory Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours, a tour company that's taken 3,000 Americans to Cuba, confirms there has been a softening in demand.

In part he blamed hotel prices on the island, which have nearly doubled since 2015 and which are set by the government. "There's still demand but there's only so much people can afford," he said. Cheaper lodging is available through Airbnb and other services, but not all travelers want the hassles and uncertainty of traveling on their own in Cuba.

Geronemus said "Zika has cast a shadow" on the region too, despite the Cuban government's assertion that mosquito abatement efforts have been successful. Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, can cause birth defects.

While an increasing number of airlines are offering flights, American Airlines is cutting three of its 13 daily flights to Cuba beginning Feb. 16 and switching to smaller planes on some routes, said spokesman Matt Miller. He added that adjustments are common with new service and that the reduction was made before the presidential election.

ForwardKeys, which compiles data based on global reservations transactions, says it has not detected a drop in bookings for Cuba. In the last few weeks, several U.S. airlines started regular commercial flights to Cuba. United Airlines launched Newark-Havana flights Nov. 29 and Saturday service from Houston on Dec. 3. Spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the airline is "prepared to work with the new administration" going forward. JetBlue, which also just launched service, would not provide specifics but said "we are pleased with how flights to Cuba are selling."

Tanner Callais of Austin, Texas, who runs a cruise website called Cruzely.com, had hoped to cruise to Cuba in 2017.

But "now with some of the things I've heard about tightening up restrictions on travel to Cuba, we're taking a wait and see approach," he said. "The last thing we want to do is put a lot of money down for a trip and then have the cruise cancelled due to new restrictions put in place."

Others are booking trips as soon as they can, fearing a Cuba travel ban under Trump. "Ordinarily we book trips three to six months ahead but people are calling this week to register for trips three weeks from now," said Kimberly Haley-Coleman, executive director of GlobeAware, which organizes volunteer trips.

Though Geronemus says the softening started "long before Trump was elected," some travelers are asking for reassurance that they'd be covered if travel gets banned between the time they book their tickets and their planned trip. That has smarTours promising a full refund or credit for a discounted trip elsewhere should new rules make it impossible to go ahead with a trip, Geronemus says.

Erika Richter, spokeswoman for the American Society of Travel Agents, says "some people we talk to are convinced that everything will be rolled back on Jan. 21. Others think, as a hospitality industry leader, (Trump) will not follow through. So, I think it's probable but not guaranteed that we see a roll back in early 2017."

But what Trump has in mind for Cuba is unclear. Three days after Fidel Castro's death, the president-elect tweeted: "If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal."

Some critics believe the Obama administration should have held out for democratic and human rights reforms as part of the loosening of travel restrictions. But others think that stimulating Cuba's economy through travel - including inroads by U.S. cruise, hotel and tour companies there - is the best way to bring change.

Haley-Coleman thinks the most likely scenario is a return to strict enforcement of rules for permitted types of trips. Even under President Obama, Americans can't go to Cuba as regular tourists. They have to certify that their trip falls into one of 12 permitted categories, including educational, humanitarian or cultural travel. Right now, though, that certification is done on the honor system. Haley-Coleman thinks Trump may require itineraries be pre-approved to ensure Americans are not just drinking mojitos on the beach.

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Trumps taps retired Marine Gen. Kelly to lead Homeland Security http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209640 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209640 Wed, 7 Dec 2016 14:43:19 -0500 By Lolita C. Baldor and Julie Pace The Associated Press By By Lolita C. Baldor and Julie Pace The Associated Press WASHINGTON - President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, whose last command included oversight of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, to run the Department of Homeland Security, people close to the transition team said Wednesday.

Kelly, who joined the Marine Corps in 1970, retired earlier this year, wrapping up a final, three-year post as head of U.S. Southern Command, which spanned some of the more fractious debate over the Obama administration's ultimately failed pledge to close Guantanamo.

He served three tours in Iraq, and holds the somber distinction of being the most senior military officer to lose a child in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. His son, Marine 1st Lt. Robert Kelly was killed in November, 2010, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

That makes Kelly a member of a so-called Gold Star family, those who lost a relative in combat. Trump verbally attacked the Khan family, Pakistani immigrants who lost a son in U.S. Army combat in Iraq, after they criticized him at the Democratic National Convention last summer.

Highly respected, often outspoken, and known as a fierce, loyal commander, Kelly will take over the nation's newest federal agency, with responsibilities from airport security and terrorism to immigration and the Coast Guard. The department was formed after the Sept. 11 terror attacks to get the U.S. government better-positioned to prevent and respond to future attacks.

If confirmed by the Senate, Kelly would be the fifth person to lead the department, which includes agencies that protect the president, respond to disasters, enforce immigration laws, protect the nation's coastlines and secure air travel.

His selection bolsters concerns about an increase in military influence in U.S. policy in a Trump White House - and as Trump moves forward on his signature issue to build a wall along the southern border and go after people living in the country illegally.

Transition officials confirmed Trump's pick of Kelly on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly before any official announcement.

In Kelly, Trump would have another four-star military officer for his administration. James Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general, is Trump's pick for defense secretary.

Immigration enforcement is a familiar issue for Kelly. Southern Command, based in South Florida, regularly works with DHS to identify and dismantle immigrant smuggling networks. It has partnered with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in an operation targeting human smuggling into the U.S. and helped with the rescue of children arriving alone at U.S. borders.

If immigration enforcement is prioritized the way Trump promised during his campaign, the department will be challenged with beefing up the screening of immigrants allowed to come into the U.S., and finding additional resources to track down and deport people living in America illegally. It will also need to find a place to house these immigrants while they're waiting for deportation.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi noted that Kelly could be responsible for carrying out some of Trump's most divisive campaign promises: the southern border wall and mass deportations among them.

"We hope that General Kelly is willing to stand up for facts, families and the Constitution. America will not be made great by dragging parents away from their children, by squandering billions of dollars on a wall that does little to secure the border, or by rejecting freedom of religion and echoing the darkest chapters of persecution."

Scraping for federal funds and equipment to battle such problems will not be a new challenge for Kelly. As the head of Southern Command, he was often blunt about his need for more resources to fight the drug trade that sweeps into the U.S. from South America.

During a 2014 hearing, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he didn't have the ships or surveillance assets to get more than 20 percent of the drugs leaving Colombia for the U.S. He said he often had "very good clarity" on the drug traffickers, but much of the time "I simply sit and watch it go by."

The most contentious issue Kelly faced, though, was the Obama push to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center, and proposals to bring detainees to a facility in the U.S. if they could not be returned to other nations. Members of Congress stridently opposed any move to close Guantanamo, arguing that it is the ideal location for terror suspects gathered up in the aftermath of the 9 / 11 attacks.

The Pentagon faced criticism for not moving more quickly to release detainees to other countries. Those decisions largely rested with the defense secretary, but Kelly absorbed some of that anger even though his job was simply to carry out the transportation of the detainee after the decision was made. He also raised concerns about the costs of moving the detention center to the U.S. and the expanse of security that would be needed.

In his final Pentagon news conference, he spoke openly about the loss of his son - a topic he didn't often raise in a public setting.

"To lose a child is - I can't imagine anything worse than that. I used to think, when I'd go to all of my trips up to Bethesda, Walter Reed, I'll go to the funerals with the secretaries of defense, that I could somehow imagine what it would be like," said Kelly.

But, he added, "when you lose one in combat, there's a - in my opinion - there's a pride that goes with it, that he didn't have to be there doing what he was doing. He wanted to be there. He volunteered."

Kelly said he gets "occasional letters from gold star families who are asking, 'Was it worth it?' And I always go back with this: It doesn't matter. That's not our question to ask as parents. That young person thought it was worth it, and that's the only opinion that counts."

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Thousands attend Pearl Harbor anniversary ceremony http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209641 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161207/GZ0113/161209641 Wed, 7 Dec 2016 14:19:32 -0500 By Audrey Mcavoy The Associated Press By By Audrey Mcavoy The Associated Press PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Thousands of people gathered at Pearl Harbor on Wednesday for a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the attack that plunged the United States into World War II and left more than 2,300 service people dead.

Under a clear blue sky, a few dozen attack survivors and others assembled on a pier overlooking the harbor. They bowed their heads and observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. - the same moment Japanese planes began their assault on Dec. 7, 1941.

The USS Halsey sounded its whistle to start the moment. F-22 fighter jets flying in formation overhead broke the silence afterward.

Earlier, Laura Stoller watched as crowds jostled for autographs and photos with survivors. Stoller accompanied her adoptive grandfather and Pearl Harbor survivor Stan VanHoose of Beloit, Wisconsin, to the event and was happy to see the veterans getting attention.

"All of these men who for so long didn't get the recognition they deserve - they're soaking it up. And it's so fun to see," Stoller said.

VanHoose, 96, served on the USS Maryland.

Fellow survivor Jim Downing of Colorado Springs, Colorado, said he comes back to Hawaii for the anniversary commemorations to be with his shipmates.

"We get together and have a great time and compare our stories," he said.

Downing said surprise, fear, anger and pride overcame him as Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor.

Then a newlywed sailor, he recalled a Japanese plane flying low and slow in his direction as he rushed to his battleship from his home after hearing explosions and learning of the attack on the radio.

"When he got the right angle, he banked over, turned his machine guns lose," Downing, now 103, said in an interview at a Waikiki hotel. "But fortunately he didn't bank far enough so it went right over my head."

The next aviator might have better aim, Downing remembers thinking. And with nowhere to hide, "I was afraid," he said.

His ship, the USS West Virginia, was hit by nine torpedoes.

"We were sinking, and everything above the water line was on fire," he said.

Downing said he felt proud while watching sailors balance the capsizing ship by allowing water to seep in. The tactic let the giant battleship slide into mud below.

"They just instinctively did the right thing at the right time without any thought about their own lives or safety," he said.

The West Virginia lost 106 men. Downing, who also served as the ship's postmaster, spent two hours fighting fires and checking the name tags of the dead so he could write their families personal notes about how they died.

Ray Chavez was out on a minesweeper, the USS Condor, in the early hours before the attack. He remembers noticing with his shipmates that a mysterious submarine was lurking off the harbor.

"At 3:45 a.m. on Dec. 7, I look out and spotted a submarine that wasn't supposed to be in that area," the 104-year-old Chavez said.

The sailors reported the sighting and Chavez went home to sleep. He told his wife not to wake him because he hadn't gotten any rest during the busy night.

"It seemed like I only slept about 10 minutes when she called me and said 'we're being attacked.' And I said 'who is going to attack us?' She said 'the Japanese are here and they're attacking everything,"' Chavez said.

These days, many people treat Chavez and other Pearl Harbor survivors like celebrities, asking them for autographs and photos. But Chavez said it's about the people who were lost.

"I'm honoring them, not myself," he said.

Also Wednesday, President Barack Obama issued a statement saying he and first lady Michelle Obama join Americans in remembering those who gave their lives on Dec. 7, 1941.

"We can never repay the profound debt of gratitude we owe to those who served on our behalf," he said.

The president said he will visit the USS Arizona Memorial later this month with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

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Feelings of racial vulnerability linked to youth vote for Donald Trump http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0101/161209692 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0101/161209692 Tue, 6 Dec 2016 16:30:47 -0500 By EMILY SWANSON The Associated Press By By EMILY SWANSON The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - Among the youngest white adult Americans, feelings of racial and economic vulnerability appear to be closely connected to their support for Donald Trump in last month's election.

That's according to an analysis of a new GenForward poll of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30. Other surveys of white adults of all ages have found a similar pattern.

Among young people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, feelings toward President Barack Obama and about the way the government is working were related to support for Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The pre-election survey data comes from a GenForward poll conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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These special-needs teens were regularly locked in a closet http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0113/161209694 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0113/161209694 Tue, 6 Dec 2016 16:12:32 -0500 By DAVID WARREN The Associated Press By By DAVID WARREN The Associated Press DALLAS (AP) - Seven special-needs teenagers living near Houston were repeatedly locked away in a closet by their adoptive mother and restricted to a lone room strewn with human waste, state and county officials said Tuesday.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services also said that a 7-year-old boy died in the same home in January 2011. The agency declined to reveal the circumstances of the death.

The revelations were part of a startling series of events southwest of Houston that Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls described as "heart-breaking."

"I cannot think of a more deplorable situation than what we have learned in this case," he said in a statement.

The 7-year-old also had special needs and Family and Protective Services spokeswoman Tiffani Butler said Tuesday that the other seven were not removed from the Richmond home when the child died but that they all lived there at the time. No charges were filed in the child's death.

The teens, ages 13 to 16, were removed Nov. 23 but the Fort Bend County sheriff's office didn't publicize the case until Monday. Caitilin Espinosa, a sheriff's spokeswoman, said the investigation was delayed by confusing circumstances and also because the two people arrested in the matter have not cooperated with authorities.

Paula Sinclair, 54, and Allen Richardson, 78, each are charged with injury to a child and aggravated kidnapping. They were being held Tuesday at the Fort Bend County jail.

Sinclair, who has used aliases in the past, is the adoptive mother of the teens and also of the 7-year-old boy who died. Her husband lives elsewhere, Espinosa said, and it's not clear if Sinclair lived there or came by periodically. Sinclair's relationship to Richardson also isn't clear.

The two were arrested Saturday and each is being held on a $100,000 bond. Online jail records did not indicate whether they have attorneys to speak on their behalf.

State Child Protective Services was acting on a tip when a case worker went to the home Nov. 22, Butler said. The worker was alarmed enough to receive court approval to remove the teens the next day.

Sinclair and Richardson bickered with authorities that they had done nothing wrong, Espinosa said, but detectives found the teens had been locked in a single room. When Sinclair was at the home and needed to leave, all seven children regularly were placed in a 5-by-8-foot closet. They were struck with a wooden paddle if they attempted to leave the closet or room.

At times they were in the closet so long that they urinated on themselves. The room was fouled with human waste, with some deposited in bags scattered about. A teen with Down syndrome was found wearing a dirty diaper. It wasn't clear what disabilities the other children have. None attended school.

They were taken to a hospital for treatment and remained there Tuesday. Once they're released they'll be in state custody. Sinclair and her husband first served as foster parents to the children and later adopted them, Espinosa said. They've been with the couple since they were babies.

"These people are taking advantage of a lousy situation at the expense of children who cannot fend for themselves," Nehls said. "It is absolutely heart-breaking."

Parents who adopt a special-needs child can receive up to $540 a month for each child, Butler said.

Sinclair and Richardson were charged with kidnapping because the teens were locked in the room and "kept against their will," Espinosa said.

They were so isolated that three adults who lived in another part of the home were unaware they lived there, according to Espinosa.

"They really were hidden, even from people in the same home," she said.

It wasn't clear why the three other adults were living in the home but Butler, the Family and Protective Services spokeswoman, said Texas Adult Protective Services had previously checked on the three and that the home may be licensed by the state.

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After Pearl Harbor, this mail plane had a new mission http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0113/161209698 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0113/161209698 Tue, 6 Dec 2016 15:39:49 -0500 By Michael E. Ruane The Washington Post By By Michael E. Ruane The Washington Post The tattered Pearl Harbor survivor looks every bit of 78, with weathered skin, rusty bones and the faded "U.S. Navy" emblem the old bird got before the war.

Gray from age and years in the service, the veteran of Dec. 7 sits with other World War II antiques, weary and in need of attention.

But with the 75th anniversary of the 1941 attack this week, and commemorations scheduled in Hawaii and around the country, this survivor, like most who were there that day, has a story.

The ungainly Navy airplane at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, is one of the few original U.S. aircraft in existence that flew against the Japanese armada that day.

Then painted silver and orange-yellow, with a bright green tail and red trim, it was an unlikely combatant.

Designed as a small airliner - a "baby clipper" - it was unarmed and part of a unit called Utility Squadron One, which hauled mail, sailors and Navy photographers around the Hawaiian Islands.

It had window curtains and a restroom with porcelain fixtures. Its top speed was just over 100 mph.

With Pearl Harbor a scene of death and devastation that Sunday morning, Plane No. 1063 - its insignia a pelican carrying a mailbag - was ordered to seek out the enemy.

For armament, the 28-year-old pilot, Ensign Wesley Hoyt Ruth, and his five-man crew were issued three World War I-era rifles.

Their task: Report the location of the six Japanese aircraft carriers, two battleships, assorted escort ships and hundreds of enemy airplanes that had been involved in the attack.

"This is going to be a one-way trip," Ruth later said he thought.

But it wasn't.

Seventy-five years later, the Sikorski JRS-1 amphibian, with its boat hull for the water and big tires for the runway, sits in the Udvar-Hazy Center's restoration hangar, a venerable witness to the event that helped create modern America.

The Pearl Harbor attack, which plunged the United States into World War II, killed an estimated 2,400 Americans, wounded about 1,100, and destroyed ships, planes and facilities.

"The fact that [Ruth] got out and got back is . . . absolutely amazing," Smithsonian museum specialist Pat Robinson said last month.

The plane would not have survived an encounter with the Japanese fleet, which it did not find, Robinson said in an interview at the center.

It was lucky not to have been shot down by jumpy American antiaircraft gunners when it returned to Pearl Harbor, he said.

And it was a miracle that it was saved from the postwar scrap heap.

"Somewhere . . . someone looking at the log books realized the significance of the airplane, and where it had been," and alerted the Smithsonian, which retrieved it from military storage, Robinson said.

"It's a huge deal, to have this here," he said. "It represents American involvement in the Second World War. It was there when it started."

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Indeed, the airplane has a presence, and the Smithsonian would one day like to restore it. But other historic planes are in line ahead of it.

The craft, constructed for the Navy in 1938 at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, Conn., is big, with the two huge propeller engines built into the wing above the fuselage, a hatch in the nose where a photographer could stand, and porthole-style windows.

Inside it, the curators found an old emergency water purification kit and the rusted keys to a lockbox in the radio compartment.

The squadron was based on Ford Island, in the middle of Pearl Harbor, where the Navy's doomed battleships were parked.

Ruth, the pilot, who later lived in the Washington area and taught at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, was in his bachelor's quarters on the island the morning of the attack.

A seasoned aviator, "he could fly anything," his son, Thomas A. Ruth II, said recently.

A native of tiny De Smet, South Dakota, he was having breakfast when the Japanese planes came roaring in. He thought for a moment that it might be a drill, until he saw them dropping bombs.

"Then I knew for sure that we were in for trouble," he said.

He would survive the war, but a younger brother, Thomas, who was also a Navy pilot, was shot down and killed in the South Pacific in 1943.

In videotaped accounts he gave over the years, Wes Ruth said he grabbed his coat that morning, jumped into his convertible and sped with the top down for the airstrip.

"I drove as fast as I could because . . . I was concerned about getting strafed," he said.

As he neared the runway, the battleship USS Arizona had just blown up about a quarter-mile away. Pellets of gunpowder ejected from the blast began to fall from the sky.

"It was snowing powder pellets about as large as my finger," Ruth said in a talk he gave in 2011. They fell in and around his car.

As the Japanese attack ended, the Americans wanted to locate the fleet from which the enemy planes had come. Ruth was ordered to go find it. "You take the first plane, the JRS," he said a senior officer told him.

He got into the plane with co-pilot Emery C. "Pappy" Geise, 35, radioman Oscar W. Benenfiel Jr., plane captain Amos P. Gallupe and two other sailors, according to the Smithsonian.

Before they left, the senior officer presented them with three old Springfield rifles for protection. "We would have to shoot through the windows," Ruth said.

He thought the chances of surviving were zero.

The brightly colored plane took off and flew north, looking for the enemy.

Hours went by.

"Every second in the air was fraught with anxiety, apprehension, [and] anger," a crewman on another search plane recalled, according to Pearl Harbor historian Craig Nelson. "If ever there was a suicide mission, this was one."

Ruth said he flew just beneath the clouds, so he could duck into the cloud cover if there was trouble.

He flew 250 miles to the north but saw nothing. He turned east for 10 miles, then headed back south 250 miles toward Pearl Harbor. Still nothing.

Although the enemy fleet was still lurking north of Pearl Harbor, Ruth and his crew made no contact.

But then they had to get back to Ford Island without getting shot down by their comrades. Numerous American planes were mistaken for the enemy and shot at by nervous Americans on the ground, according to historians.

Again, Ruth and his men were lucky. They arrived unscathed.

Following the attack, the plane was moved to a base in California and later handed over to the forerunner of NASA for testing purposes, Robinson said. After that it went into storage until its importance was noticed and it was given to the Smithsonian.

Ruth died last year at 101 in Matthews, North Carolina. He was buried in January in Arlington National Cemetery.

For his actions at Pearl Harbor, he was given the Navy Cross, the service's second-highest decoration for heroism.

"Although contact with the enemy meant almost certain destruction," his citation reads, Ruth's courage, airmanship and skill "were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

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Top job placement firm sued for alleged bias against blacks http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0113/161209699 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0113/161209699 Tue, 6 Dec 2016 15:17:20 -0500 The Associated Press By The Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) - A lawsuit accuses a national job-placement company of systematically discriminating against blacks in favor of Hispanic workers - often to comply with racially based requests from client firms.

Tuesday's filing in Chicago federal court alleges Personnel Staffing Group LLC used code words to distinguish races. The lawsuit says the Spanish word for "bilinguals" was used to reference Hispanics.

The company has more than 60 offices in nearly 40 states. It also goes by MVP and MVP staffing.

The 33-page lawsuit was filed on behalf of several African-American laborers, and it names Personnel Staffing Group and about half a dozen of its client companies as defendants. It cites alleged instances of racism by a Personnel Staffing Group branch in Cicero, Illinois.

Multiple messages left for the company Tuesday weren't returned.

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Trending story that Clinton only won 57 counties is untrue http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0101/161209718 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161206/GZ0101/161209718 Tue, 6 Dec 2016 08:56:06 -0500 The Associated Press By The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) - A trending story that claims Hillary Clinton won a total of 57 counties in the presidential election is untrue.

The Associated Press finds that Clinton won 487 counties nationwide, compared with 2,626 for President-elect Donald Trump.

The story appeared on several viral content sites that cater to some of Trump's supporters.

It also falsely claimed that Clinton outpaced Trump by more than 2 million votes in the five counties that comprise New York City, which the story said accounted for the entirety of her lead in the national popular vote. An AP count finds that Clinton beat Trump by roughly 1.5 million votes in New York City. Nationwide, Clinton holds a popular vote lead of more than 2 million.

The AP considers parishes in Louisiana as counties in election tallies. Washington, D.C., and Alaska have a single statewide reporting unit. Virginia's count includes 95 counties and 38 independent cities.

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Study: Warming to trigger 3 times as many downpours in US http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ01/161209739 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ01/161209739 Mon, 5 Dec 2016 18:10:13 -0500 By Seth Borenstein The Associated Press By By Seth Borenstein The Associated Press WASHINGTON - Extreme downpours - like those that flooded Louisiana, Houston and West Virginia earlier this year - will happen nearly three times as often in the United States by the end of the century, and six times more frequently in parts of the Mississippi Delta, according to a new study.

Scientists have long pointed out that warmer air holds more moisture, so man-made climate change will increase the frequency of extreme downpours. That increase has already started, they say, but new work with much stronger computer simulations shows just how bad it will get, and where.

The high-resolution computer simulation - about 25 times better than other computer models - projects at least a fivefold increase in downpours in the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast and Southwest, according to a study in Monday's journal Nature Climate Change.

Study lead author Andreas Prein, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research , said the entire U.S. will average a 180 percent increase in these types of downpours by 2100. The Midwest and parts of the West Coast are expected to see the smallest increases.

Previous projections haven't been as detailed because they could not take into consideration small scale weather events like thunderstorms. The new computer simulations can, Prein said. He looked at the type of thunderstorms that are in the top one half of 1 percent of rainmakers.

"It's much more likely that you'll get hit by very strong thunderstorms, very strong downpours in the future climate," Prein said. "What this means in the future is you might have a much higher potential for flash floods. This can have really big impacts."

Outside experts praised the study.

"The paper elegantly shows why these heavy downpours increase in frequency when the air is moist but decrease when the air is dry," said Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field. "With high warming through the century, this paper projects that most of the U.S. (gets) scary increases in the frequency of downpours."

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Republican success opens door to amending US Constitution http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ0101/161209766 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ0101/161209766 Mon, 5 Dec 2016 12:17:22 -0500 By DAVID A. LIEB The Associated Press By By DAVID A. LIEB The Associated Press JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The November election put Republicans in full control of a record number of state legislatures around the country. That level of power gives the party an unprecedented opportunity to change the U.S. Constitution.

Republicans already control Congress, the White House and more governors' offices than they have in nearly a century. But it's the state legislatures that hold perhaps the greatest promise for lasting change.

The GOP now holds numerical majorities in 33 legislatures, one shy of the two-thirds required to initiate a convention on constitutional amendments.

There is no credible talk of using that power for amendments on hot-button social issues, such as banning abortion or gay marriage. But conservatives have a list of bread-and-butter governing issues they would like to see enshrined in the Constitution.

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Death toll rises in Oakland warehouse fire http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ0113/161209769 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ0113/161209769 Mon, 5 Dec 2016 10:34:47 -0500 By KRISTIN J. BENDER and BRIAN MELLEY The Associated Press By By KRISTIN J. BENDER and BRIAN MELLEY The Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The death toll in the Oakland warehouse fire has grown to 36 and authorities say they expect the number to rise when they resume work later Monday following a temporary work stoppage. A wall is leaning inward, posing a safety hazard to those who have been searching the building which erupted in fire Friday night.

Eleven of the victims have been positively identified, but the names have yet to be publicly released.

Authorities also believe they've located the section of the building where the fire started, but the cause remains unknown.

The fire erupted during a dance party late Friday night.

Survivors and teary-eyed friends of those who perished viewed the charred building from a distance, have placed flowers on several small memorials and embraced each other to mourn their losses.

Bouquets of sunflowers, single white roses, lilies and carnations were stuck in chain-link fences, votive candles burned on sidewalks and post-it notes paid tribute to the missing and the dead in the most lethal building fire in the U.S. in more than a decade.

Kai Thomas and a group of red-eyed classmates from an arts high school in San Francisco pressed against police tape Sunday near the street corner where the "Ghost Ship," a warehouse converted to artist studios and illegal living spaces, rapidly went up in flames late Friday, taking the life of a friend.

Three of the boys had been in the cramped and dark building, Thomas said, but one got separated from them 30 seconds before someone yelled, "Fire."

"It was just really smoky and hard to see," said Thomas, a high school junior who wasn't there, but recounted what he had been told by two others who didn't want to speak. "They jumped off the second-floor balcony and ran out."

The boys waited for their 17-year-old friend for more than three hours, but he never emerged.

They wouldn't give his name, but the victims included a 17-year-old, as well as people from Europe and Asia and some over 30, said Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said. Officials had identified eight of the dead - at least seven of them using fingerprints, but told family members of the missing that they may need to use DNA for more difficult identifications.

"When we started this investigation, if you had told us that you would have 33 victims, we wouldn't have believed you," Kelly said. "I don't know how many people are left in there."

Lists of the missing circulated and many of those who had been unable to reach friends in the past two days had given up hope when authorities said people either escaped without injury or died inside.

Jesse James Alexander, a DJ, who wasn't at the party, showed up at the scene of the fire Sunday to remember three friends who were killed, though he didn't want to give their names.

Others were still holding out hope. Yuri Kundin said outside a sheriff's office where friends and family gathered for word of their loved ones that he was hoping for good news about his friends, Alex Ghassan and Hanna Henriikka Ruax, who was from Finland.

One of the many post-it notes left on a sidewalk around the corner from the remains of the warehouse said, "Praying for you. ... Hope you're still here."

Firefighters had searched less than half the building and expected more casualties as they worked around the clock to remove debris bucket by bucket.

The district attorney's sent a team to search for signs of a crime in the warehouse that was already under investigation by the city for possible code violations. The space was only permitted as a warehouse and neighbors had complained of trash piling up and people were illegally living there.

Authorities would not answer questions about the couple that operated the Satya Yuga collective, who were identified as Derick Ion Almena and Micah Allison and were believed to have been out of the building at the time of the blaze.

The couple had a troubled relationship, said Michael Allison of Portland, Oregon, the father of Micah. He and other family members persuaded his daughter to go to a drug rehabilitation center in 2015, but Almena talked his way into the clinic and convinced Micah to leave with him, Michael Allison said.

The family's three children had lice and needed new clothes, prompting family to call child-protective services, said Michael Allison, who wept as he talked. But Almena and his partner eventually were able to win custody of the children back and cut off all communication with Michael Allison, the father said.

"Whenever I could, I would to talk to (Micah) to get away from him because I knew he was dangerous from day one," he said. "All of that has now been proven."

A man identified as Derick Ion posted a Facebook message early Saturday, saying, "Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel safe and sound." He drew rebukes online from others who said he was warned the building was unsafe.

Almena did not immediately respond to emails or phone numbers associated with him. No one answered a call to a number for Micah Allison.

The building had been carved into artist studios and visitors and former denizens said it was a cluttered death trap, piled with scrap wood, a mess of snaking electric cords and only two exits.

Almena had leased the space from its owner and then rented five recreational vehicles and other nooks on the ground floor as living spaces, said Danielle Boudreaux, a former friend of Almena and Allison. They held regular concerts and dance parties, like the one Friday, to make money, Boudreaux said.

Shelley Mack was drawn there by the promise of living among artists and paying a reasonable rent in an area where the tech boom has created a housing shortage and exorbitant leases. She after a few months two years ago when the place failed to live up to its promises.

"Some people were happy to have a roof over their head even though there was no heat or no place to eat or that it was filthy and infested," Mack said. "You just get sucked in because it seems like it's this nice place and this artistic community and they talk a good game. There are people there that wanted to be there and believed in it. And I think I did too for a little bit. And then I afterward, I was like, um no."

Associated Press writers Ellen Knickmeyer, Olga Rodriguez, Tim Reiterman and Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco, and Jonathan J. Cooper, Terry Chea and Janie Har in Oakland contributed to this report.

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Baby's first flight: Woman gives birth while on airplane http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ0113/161209770 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ0113/161209770 Mon, 5 Dec 2016 10:05:50 -0500 The Associated Press By The Associated Press CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A Southwest Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Charleston, South Carolina, after a baby was born in the middle of the flight.

Airline spokeswoman Melissa Ford tells local news outlets that Flight 556 was on its way from Philadelphia to Orlando, Florida, on Sunday when a woman went into labor.

Ford says medical personnel who were on the flight helped with the delivery, and the family was taken to an area hospital when the plane landed.

Officials say the flight and the remaining passengers arrived in Orlando just over an hour behind schedule.

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Fake news story led gunman to popular DC pizzeria, police say http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ0113/161209780 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161205/GZ0113/161209780 Mon, 5 Dec 2016 08:38:33 -0500 The Associated Press By The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - A man who said he was investigating a fake news story about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place was arrested after firing a rifle inside the Washington, D.C., restaurant, police said.

Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, North Carolina, was arrested Sunday afternoon at Comet Ping Pong on Connecticut Avenue in an affluent neighborhood of the nation's capital, police said. No one was injured in the incident.

Welch told police he'd come to the restaurant to "self-investigate" the fictitious online conspiracy theory that spread online during Clinton's unsuccessful run for the White House, a police statement said.

Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Aquita (ah-KWEE'-tah) Brown said police first received a call Sunday afternoon about a male with a weapon.

Welch walked into the front door of the restaurant and pointed a gun in the direction of an employee, the police statement said. The employee fled and notified police.

Police set up a perimeter and arrested Welch safely, Interim D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said. Welch was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Bartender Lee Elmore told news outlets that people in the restaurant started to panic as the man walked to the back of the restaurant.

"One of the hosts runs up and says did you see that guy? He had a big gun," Elmore said.

"His demeanor was bizarre, in that if you come in to a place to eat, you ask for a host or grab a seat at the bar," Elmore said. "Didn't make any eye contact, didn't talk with anybody."

Two guns were recovered inside the restaurant and an additional weapon was recovered from the suspect's vehicle, police said.

A phone number listed for Welch in North Carolina was disconnected.

The Comet Ping Pong is in a neighborhood of well-tended private homes and apartment buildings on leafy streets that lead to a mix of shops, restaurants and the Politics and Prose book store.

The restaurant gained notoriety during the presidential campaign after fake news stories stated Clinton and her campaign chief ran a child sex ring out of the restaurant, news organizations have reported.

"For now, I will simply say that we should all condemn the efforts of certain people to spread malicious and utterly false accusations about Comet Ping Pong, a venerated DC institution," restaurant owner James Alefantis said in a statement. "Let me state unequivocally: these stories are completely and entirely false, and there is no basis in fact to any of them. What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences."

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Trump heads to Long Island for lavish costume party http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161203/GZ0113/161209819 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161203/GZ0113/161209819 Sat, 3 Dec 2016 22:06:15 -0500 By Jonathan Lemire and Julie Pace The Associated Press By By Jonathan Lemire and Julie Pace The Associated Press HEAD OF THE HARBOR, N.Y. - President-elect Donald Trump, still mulling key Cabinet positions, attended a lavish costume party Saturday night hosted by some of his most influential donors at their palatial Long Island mansion.

Trump, who did not sport a costume, reveled with guests at the Mercer family estate for the annual Christmas party; this year's theme was "Villains and Heroes." When asked what costume he was wearing, Trump - who was sporting his usual dark blue suit - simply pointed at himself and mouthed "me."

An invitation to the annual December party is a coveted ticket in Republican circles, never more so than this year. Several strategists who helped engineer Trump's upset win were attending, including incoming White House senior counselor Stephen Bannon and senior aide Kellyanne Conway. Conway was dressed as Superwoman; Bannon did not wear a costume.

Both Conway and Bannon have close ties to Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of hedge fund manager Robert Mercer. The younger Mercer became one of Trump's leading and most influential donors and urged him to bring Bannon and Conway into the campaign in August.

Rebekah Mercer, who ran a pro-Trump Super PAC, had compared the electoral race between Trump and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton to an "apocalyptic choice," so the night's "Villains and Heroes" theme was perhaps fitting.

The "Owl's Nest" estate was decorated with depictions of good and evil, such as angels and devils. Even the party staffers' costumes were split: some were dressed as Hell's Angels motorcyclists, some as Salvation Army volunteers.

Trump's sojourn to the party was his only expedition on Saturday outside the Manhattan skyscraper that bears his name. He is expected to lay low the remainder of the weekend, before returning to transition meetings in New York on Monday and the next stop of his "thank you" tour in North Carolina on Tuesday.

Trump is also still mulling his choice to lead the State Department, one of the most powerful and prominent Cabinet positions.

According to two people close to the transition, Trump is moving away from two of the front-runners for the job, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee. Giuliani's international business ties and public campaigning for the job are said to have rankled Trump. And while Trump has met twice with Romney, he's said to be aware of the risks of angering his supporters by tapping a Republican who was among his fiercest critics.

Former CIA director David Petraeus is still in the mix, though both people close to the transition said Trump's prolonged decision-making process has left the door open to other options.

One of the sources said Trump was open to expanding his short list of secretary of State prospects. Among the possibilities: Jon Huntsman, a former Republican Utah governor who also served as the ambassador to China and speaks Mandarin.

The people close to the transition insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private process publicly.

Trump also refused to answer questions outside the party about his decision to speak on the phone with Taiwan's leader, a breach of long-standing tradition that risks enmity from China.

Trump's conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen drew an irritated, although understated, response from China, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the contact was "just a small trick by Taiwan" that he believed would not change U.S. policy toward China, according to Hong Kong's Phoenix TV.

Chinese officials said they lodged a complaint with the U.S. and reiterated a commitment to seeking "reunification" with the island, which they consider a renegade province.

After the phone conversation Friday, Trump tweeted that Tsai "CALLED ME." He also groused about the reaction to the call: "Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call."

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Deadly Tenn. wildfires arrived with little warning http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161203/GZ0113/161209825 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161203/GZ0113/161209825 Sat, 3 Dec 2016 21:03:56 -0500 By Adam Beam and Kristin M. Hall The Associated Press By By Adam Beam and Kristin M. Hall The Associated Press GATLINBURG, Tenn. - Tracey Mayberry told her boss to fire her.

It was 2 o'clock Monday afternoon in Gatlinburg, and the sky was dark with smoke. Mayberry's shift as a manager at the resort where she worked did not end until 5 p.m., but she could see a wildfire crawling down the mountain. Local officials said the city had nothing to worry about, and Mayberry's boss had no plans to close. But she knew something was wrong, so she walked home, coughing and crying through the smoke until a stranger handed her a mask.

That wildfire had ignited five days earlier on a steep, rugged peak known as Chimney Tops, about 4 miles away from Gatlinburg. In less than 24 hours, aided by 87 mph winds and months of suffocating drought, the blaze would spread, forging a path to this tourist mecca. In all, 13 people were killed, about 85 were injured and nearly 1,000 homes and businesses were charred or destroyed.

The flames came with little warning.

At 5 o'clock, there were no fires in Gatlinburg. Within an hour, 20 buildings were ablaze.

Over the next few hours, the fires transformed a city busily preparing for holiday festivities in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains into the scene of a grim, building-by-building search for the missing and the dead. Rain fell by midweek, dousing much of the fire but leaving hollow-eyed city officials, firefighters and police officers working around the clock. Many had to put news of their own gutted homes from their minds.

Tracey and her husband- also named Tracy - packed their 2007 Ford Escape with valuables. They stopped when a tree fell on their house and sparks from a downed powerline showered their yard. It was time to go.

They did not get far. Traffic was snarled on the parkway heading out of town. Tracy, sitting anxiously behind the wheel, watched as the wind blew a fireball into the Alamo Steakhouse just a few feet from his window. He gunned the engine and swerved into the middle turn lane, the speedometer racing toward 90.

"I wasn't stopping for nothing or nobody," he said.

Across the city, firefighters were locked in a hopeless battle. The wind was scattering chunks of flame across a thirsty landscape and knocking trees into power lines, creating new fires. At 6 o'clock, authorities shifted their focus from stopping the fire to evacuating the city. More than 700 people fled the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa.

At the Lodge at Buckberry Creek, a chef and an event planner evacuated more than a dozen people before the flames destroyed the property. At a local hospital, 57-year-old Mark Howard was recovering from pneumonia when a neighbor called to tell him his house was on fire. He dialed 911 from his hospital bed.

The operator said, " 'Are you kidding me? You're calling us?' " Howard said. "I said, 'Yeah, is there another number I should call?' "

The fire had been burning for several days, mostly in the unreachable peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park not far from the edge of one of the most popular hiking trails. The fire was so small and so remote that for days firefighters could not get to it. Instead they came up with a plan to contain it. But beginning Sunday afternoon and into Monday morning, the moisture vanished from the air, the temperature rose and the wind began galloping through the trees.

By Monday afternoon, "There was no stopping the fire," said Clayton Jordan, deputy superintendent for the park.

Wolf McLellan, a 30-year-old street magician, was re-stringing his guitar at the Rainbow Motel on Monday night when things got bad.

"The sky just lit up, like the sun was just on the other side of the tree line," he said. "The wind sounded like a freaking freight train. It was absolutely horrifying as it would whistle through the window gaps."

McLellan left with his guitar, two computers and two bags that he would later abandon on the side of the road. His dog Kylie - a bulldog, bloodhound mix with floppy ears - just stared at the flames. McLellan tried to pull her with the leash, but she wouldn't budge. He decided to leave her when he saw a deer streaking down the street away from the blaze.

About a mile away, Heather Stargle was on the phone with her mother at the Travellers Motel when there was a knock at her door. It was her neighbor, warning her that police officers were at the bottom of the hill asking people to leave. She took a red backpack and stuffed it with three changes of clothes, a hair brush, deodorant and two bottles of medicine. She grabbed a half case of Coke on the way out the door.

Flames surrounded the motel as she left. But Stargle had one more stop to make. She pounded on the door of another neighbor, Pamela Johnson - "Mama Pam" to those who frequented the McKinney Food Mart where she worked for the past 13 years.

"I sat there and said, 'Pam, please just open up the door and come on.' I said, 'The place is catching on fire,' " Stargle said. "She said, 'Get away from the door, I am not coming.' She said that if she was meant to live, she would live. If not, she wouldn't.

"And that was the last thing we had heard."

The Travellers Motel was completely destroyed. On Wednesday, authorities announced they had discovered an unidentified body at the scene. Behind the door that night, Johnson had been on the phone with Karyssa Dalton, her 19-year-old granddaughter. They had talked for five minutes at 7:40 p.m., and again for six minutes and 47 seconds at 8:45 p.m.

At 10:36 p.m., Johnson did not answer. It was the first of 29 unanswered calls.

"It's emotional. Very, very emotional," Dalton said. "I do not know where she is, I don't know if she is safe, I don't know if she is gone. I just need everybody to know she is still missing and that she needs help, that she needs family."

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Professor fatally stabbed on USC campus, student arrested http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161203/GZ0113/161209826 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161203/GZ0113/161209826 Sat, 3 Dec 2016 21:01:57 -0500 The Associated Press By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - A graduate student arrested on suspicion of stabbing to death the professor who oversaw his work at the University of Southern California was being held on $1 million bail Saturday as their shocked colleagues began processing the news

David Jonathan Brown, a 28-year-old brain and cognitive science student, was arrested in the Friday afternoon attack in the heart of the Los Angeles campus. His mentor, Bosco Tjan, was killed inside the Seeley G. Mudd building, where he runs an intensive lab that studies vision loss.

Brown, one of just five students who worked in the lab, was arrested without incident almost immediately afterward, police said, adding that the killing was targeted. In a biography page about the lab and the students involved in it, Brown's is the only one without a detailed description or photograph.

Nathaniel Kwok, who recently finished working 18 months in the lab, said graduate students like Brown work in the lab 40 to 60 hours a week and develop their own projects that are required in order to graduate.

Brown had been working in the lab since around 2013, but he took a leave of absence for personal reasons sometime last year that lasted roughly a semester, Kwok said. He added that he didn't know why Brown needed the time off or how close to graduation he was.

"He seemed normal for the most part. He was a little on the reserved side, but he was nice. He was friendly," Kwok said from New York, where he's now in medical school. "There was nothing that ever would have given me some kind of indicator that he would be harboring any kind of sentiment like this."

Brown said Tjan treated him as a son and that he always loved the professor's frankness, sarcastic wit and sharp mind.

Kilho Shin, a brain and cognitive science graduate student who works in Tjan's lab, said Brown was a quiet student and seemed satisfied with Tjan's oversight.

"I don't know what exactly happened between them. But as far as I know, Bosco likes David's work and David also seemed to be satisfied with his supervising," Shin said. "Their conversation on research was healthy and constructive."

Shin said he was shocked by Tjan's killing, adding that the professor was humorous, kind and warm, and a genius in his area of study.

"It is a big loss not only to me but also in this field and society. He has served his lab members as his family members, not just graduate students, including David Brown," he said.

Chris Purington, project manager at Tjan's lab, said Friday that he never heard of anyone having a problem with Tjan, a married father of one son listed in public records as 50 years old.

"He was somebody who really cared about people. I know he cared about me," Purington said through tears. "He mentored people, and he looked out for them. He spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a mentor and guide people."

Purington, who traveled with Tjan for various science conferences, said everyone knew and loved the professor.

"People talk about scientists as very cold or robotic. Bosco is a guy that he could talk to anybody about anything," he said. "He couldn't move through a room without being sidetracked in all these conversations.

"He just had this energy about him. Kinetic might be the word," he said. "He had a huge impact on my life."

Purington, who also oversaw Brown at the lab, said Saturday that he was not ready to speak about the student.

David Clewett said he was a student in Tjan's brain-imaging course and met with him about how to analyze his data.

"He was a brilliant scientist and an exceptional person who was always kind, generous with his time, and genuinely cared about his students and colleagues," Clewett said. "This is such a tragic and shocking loss."

In a letter addressed to the USC community, university President C. L. Max Nikias called Tjan's killing a tragedy.

"As the Trojan family mourns Professor Tjan's untimely passing, we will keep his family in our thoughts," Nikias said.

Tjan joined USC in 2001, taught in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and served as co-director of the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center, Nikias said.

The stabbing comes six months after a well-loved professor was fatally shot on the nearby UCLA campus. Authorities believe former student Mainak Sarkar killed his estranged wife in a Minneapolis suburb before driving across the country to Los Angeles and fatally shooting engineering professor William Klug before killing himself on June 1. Klug had helped Sarkar earn his engineering Ph.D. in 2013.

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Fire tears through California dance party, killing at least 9 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161203/GZ0113/161209863 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20161203/GZ0113/161209863 Sat, 3 Dec 2016 11:48:01 -0500 By Paul Elias and Jocelyn Gecker Associated Press By By Paul Elias and Jocelyn Gecker Associated Press Firefighters struggled to get to bodies in the rubble Saturday after a fire tore through a converted Oakland warehouse during a late-night electronic music party, killing at least 9 people and making the charred structure unsafe for emergency crews to enter. Officials said they feared the death toll could rise as high as 40.

Officials described the scene inside the warehouse, which had been illegally converted into artist studios, as a death trap that made it impossible for many partygoers to escape the Friday night fire. And a day later, the maze of debris and devastation was complicating efforts to extract the bodies.

"It was just a labyrinth of little areas. We knew people were in there, and we were trying to get them out. But it was just a labyrinth," Oakland deputy fire chief Mark Hoffmann told reporters Saturday afternoon.

He said that firefighters had to stop their search and rescue operation Saturday afternoon for safety reasons and shore up the structure, but they expected to resume later in the day. The building's roof had collapsed into the second floor, which in places fell to the bottom floor.

Oakland officials said they had opened an investigation just last month into the warehouse after numerous complaints filed by neighbors who said trash was piling up outside the property and people were illegally living in the building, which was zoned as a warehouse.

Darin Ranelletti, of the Oakland Planning Department, said the city opened an investigation Nov. 13 and an investigator went to the premises on Nov. 17 but could not get inside the building. The city has not confirmed people were living inside.

One survivor, however, said that 18 artists lived inside the warehouse.

Bob Mule said he was one of the artists living in the collective space. He told KGO-TV that he and another person smelled smoke and spotted the fire in a back corner and started yelling.

"The fire went up really, really, really quickly," he said.

Mule said he tried to help someone who had an injured ankle but couldn't. "There was a lot of stuff in the way, the flames were too much," Mule said, trailing off. "I hope, I hope he's OK."

The warehouse was known as the "Oakland Ghost Ship." Its website showed pictures of a bohemian, loft-like interior made of wood and cluttered with rugs, old sofas and a garage-sale like collection of pianos, paintings, turntables, statues and other items.

The website included advertisements for various electronic music parties. Friday night's event featured musician Golden Donna's 100% Silk West Coast tour. A message on the group's website said "Joel is safe but like many people he is heartbroken."

It's unclear what sparked the fire. But officials said the clutter served as a tinderbox and there were no sprinklers inside.

"Something as simple as a cigarette could have started this," Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said, adding that people either escaped from the building or died inside, where the only way down from the second story was via a stairwell constructed entirely of wooden pallets. "It appears that either you got out or you got trapped inside."

More than 15 hours after the fire started, rescue crews had only recovered four bodies from the building and dozens of people were still unaccounted for, Kelly said. He said the rescue operation was expected to take a minimum of two days. None of the nine dead have been identified.

About 50 to 100 people were believed to have been at the party when the fire started around 11:30 p.m. Friday, officials said.

Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed said at least 25 people were unaccounted for. The victims were believed to be people in their 20s, Kelly said. He said as many as 40 may have perished and that the coroner is preparing for a "mass casualty event" that could include victims from other countries.

Panicked friends and family posted messages on the group's Facebook page trying to find out if their loved ones were among the dead. Those searching for the missing were sent to a local sheriff's office, where Dan Vega was anxiously awaiting news. He had been unable to find his younger brother or his brother's girlfriend.

Vega said he was not sure if the two were at the party Friday night but that his brother likes to go to raves and he had not been able to reach him Saturday. His girlfriend's car was still parked at a transit station in San Bruno, south of San Francisco.

Fighting tears, Dan Vega said he's frustrated authorities hadn't been able to tell him anything about his 22-year-old brother.

"I just want to go over there. I have my work boots on. I'm ready to go," Dan Vega said. "Just give me some gloves. I'll help out any way, shape or form, I don't care. This is infuriating. I don't know where my brother's at. I just want to find him."

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